Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation or LASER in recent times has revolutionized the treatments in the field of Dermatology and cosmetology.
LASERS for Hair removal
Lasers being used for hair removal has increased exponentially during the last decade. Traditional methods of hair removal like threading, plucking, waxing are largely replaced by lasers as they help in achieving long term hair reduction.
Laser hair removal is based on the theory of selective photothermolysis or selective destruction of the follicular unit, resulting in significant hair reduction in treated areas. Lasers produce significant delay in hair regrowth after treatment, which can last for months to years. After laser treatment, the terminal hairs are replaced by fine vellus hairs. Efficacy improves when treatment is repeated.
LASERS for hair removal are used in
- Removal of hair for medical treatment purpose like sycosis barbae / pseudofolliculitis
- In certain medical conditions like Hirsutism and
- Most commonly for the removal of unwanted hair on the body for cosmetic reasons.
Skin & hair color and LASER
An ideal patient for laser hair removal is one who has thick dark terminal hairs, light skin and normal hormonal status. The basic principle is that the pigment of the hair should absorb the laser light and not the skin pigment. The laser should damage only the hair follicle and not the skin. Hence a contrast between hair and skin color — dark hair and light skin — results in the best outcomes. But advances in laser technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin also.
Hair does not fall out immediately, but will shed over a period of days to weeks. Repeated treatments are necessary ( 4 to 10 sessions) and laser treatment works best with hair follicles in the new-growth stage (anagen phase of hair). Results vary significantly and are difficult to predict. With maintenance laser treatments long-term hair reduction can be achieved.
Side effects of Laser are very less when done by a trained physician. Some patients may experience irritation of skin which is temporary. Changes in the skin color like darkening or lightening of the affected skin may happen which is again temporary. Some times the pigmentation can turn out to become permanent, when lasers are handled by an untrained, non medical persons. Other rare side effects include graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas. Be cautious about spas, salons or other facilities that allow non medical personnel with out any medical knowledge to do laser hair removal. We see lot of patients in OPD, who come to us with severe skin burns, blistering after trying out LASER procedures in such non medical places.
If you're interested in laser hair removal, choose a doctor who's board certified in a specialty such as dermatology and has experience with laser hair removal on your skin type.